July 13, 2022
Before we go into today’s Devotional, I want us to dive into this shot message below;
Preference for Jesus
As I smile in my wheelchair, there are some who think I look at life through rose-colored glasses, they do, like it’s a fake smile. Well listen, in no way am I a Pollyanna. Life in a wheelchair is hard.
I just choose to see my suffering as a rigorous, robust daily preference for Jesus. Far from being fake, my smile is lived out; it is birthed from fist-fighting hard choices I constantly make every single day, fixing my eyes on Jesus, even when his image is blurred by my pain.
I’m no Pollyanna. I pack a punch, and beat my will into submission. Whether I feel like it or not, I’m going to show Jesus that I prefer him, I choose him, I desire him, and I want him above complaining.
Look, your every earthly challenge, every headache, heartache, problem, and pain is a chance to show Jesus how much you prefer him over anything else. Yeah, it’s hard. But it sure makes you fall in love with him all the more.
Now, to today’s message. God’s Character.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son. In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13 (ESV)
When I was emerging from my depression over being paralyzed, I uncovered a promise in the Bible about God’s faithfulness.
Philippians 1:6 told me to be confident, in fact, of this one thing: That he who had begun a good work in me would carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
You have to put that promise in the context of my life at that time. For the first time since my accident, I was trying to peer into my future. Yet it seemed as though a thick, black curtain hung just inches in front of my face. The appalling reality of a lifetime of paralysis was almost more than I could bear. My faith seemed paralyzed, too. It was hard to imagine how anything good would come out of it—ever. I was convinced I would never smile again.
But then I came across Philippians 1:6.
Like a drowning woman clutching a life preserver, I immediately grabbed hold of the faithfulness of God. I took hold of his tenderness and mercy. I quoted the verse to the Lord, asking him to fulfill his promise of completing a good—yes, a very good—work in my life.
And do you know what? I found peace. I was confident that God, in his faithfulness, would hold himself to his promise.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “You and I may take hold at anytime upon the justice, mercy, faithfulness, wisdom, longsuffering, [or] tenderness of God, and we shall find every attribute of the Most High to be, as it were, a great battering ram with which we may open the gates of heaven.”
Obviously Spurgeon wasn’t talking about “nukeing” the gates of heaven to somehow overcome God’s reluctance or unwillingness. No, God is not an immovable meditating Mystic who has to be prodded to perform his will. Spurgeon isn’t talking about God that way. But I do think that it pleases God when we seek his glory, his will, even his character in a given situation in our lives.
Abraham, pleading with God to spare Sodom, reminded the Lord,
“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Genesis 18:25, NKJV
Did God need a reminder? “Oh, thanks, Abe. I’d completely forgotten that angle. Thanks for jogging My memory.” Obviously, God did not need a nudge to remember his justice. Yet he was delighted that Abraham sought heavenly justice on the merits of the heavenly Judge. Abraham pleaded his case from the platform of God’s character.
Habakkuk, too, appealed to God’s very nature in his prayer. It was a time of deep national distress in Judah. The ruthless Babylonian army was poised to sweep across the country like water from a ruptured dam. Yes, the prophet agreed with the Lord, Judah was deserving of his judgment. But how could God use a people even more evil than they as his rod of discipline?
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrong.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
David pleaded God’s character again and again. Discouraged by his own sins and unfaithfulness, he cried out:
“Remember, O Lord, your mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord”
Intimacy with God involves finding handholds and footholds in his character. Do you plead with him on the basis of who he is? Consider again his justice, his mercy, his faithfulness, his wisdom, his purity, his might, and his tenderness.
If you’re hurting or if you’re confused, find some attribute of your great God and grab onto it with all your might, asking him to deal with you accordingly. Humbly hold him to his promise. God is delighted when you seek his will, his character, his glory—and yes, his heart—in your prayers.
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